Could You? Wood You? Might Wooden Skyscapers Sequester Carbon?

October 22, 2018

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13 Responses to “Could You? Wood You? Might Wooden Skyscapers Sequester Carbon?”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Hmmmm. The oldest man-made structures on the planet are made of stone and go back ~7000 years. The oldest wooden structure is a smallish temple in Japan that is made of timber only ~1400 years old, although there are a number of living trees that are at least double that age.

    In our present state of denial and short-term bright-sidedness, it does make some small sense to tout using wood for smaller “skyscrapers” to “reduce the carbon footprint from what it would have been using steel and concrete”. Unfortunately, “reduced” is not neutral or negative, so it’s just more kicking the can down the road. And I wonder it they’ve really costed out growing all that wood, cutting and shaping it, transporting it, and gluing it together with all that nasty stuff they use.

    PS And CLT is NOT a new material—it’s just a thicker and longer form of plywood. which has been around for many years, centuries even.

  2. lracine Says:

    Wow, thanks for posting the clip I found it intriguing…. but I wonder how the glue will age and what happen to the structure when exposed to weather and moisture…

    Bamboo houses, TED talk… magical designs..

    • Keith McClary Says:

      Steel reinforced concrete also has issues with weather and moisture.
      https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-reinforced-concrete-56078

      I suspect that the “natural” woody looking skyscraper depicted in the video will need to be covered with cladding. Lifetime of cladding materials (years):
      Fair-faced brickwork 86
      Render to blockwork wall 53
      Plastic profiled sheet cladding 25
      Steel profiled sheet cladding 35
      Glass fibre profiled sheet cladding 27
      Aluminium curtain walling 43
      Plastic curtain walling 27
      Structural glass curtain walling 43
      Hung tile cladding 45
      Timber weatherboarding 30
      Plastic weatherboarding 28

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Any of which cladding materials will get us to 2040 and beyond. Looking at the non-linear advance of AGW and its impacts, it’s highly likely that by then no one is going to be worrying much about their “wood skyscraper” looking a little shabby.

        • grindupbaker Says:

          That’s not the British spirit though. Remember the Blitz.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            What does “spirit” have to do with anything? How about calling it wishful thinking? Or bright-sidedness? Bargaining? Denial?

            Yes, stiff upper lips got the British through the Blitz, but CO2, temperature, ocean acidity, sea level rise,mass extinctions, wild weather, etc. etc. are just a bit more widespread than bomber raids over London, as are their causes—–in which direction should we point our stiff upper lips?


      • @Keith McClary – we’re working with glass fibre reinforced cladding and according to the tests and design we should be able to achieve 120 years design life – this of course does not mean the material lifetime, but with certain maintenance regime all glass fibre panels can be replaced and should last longer than 27 years. There are a few aspects to it – minimum thickness, anti-graffiti coating, and stainless steel fixings.

  3. lracine Says:

    I got to see this fire first hand, in Kingston Ontario, new wood frame four story apartment building. It was this type of construction, and the fire suppression system had not been activated yet (at the end phase of construction and in the month of December), it was a sight!!!

    https://globalnews.ca/news/1036069/major-fire-burning-in-downtown-kingston/

    • dumboldguy Says:

      It looks more like a traditional stud wall than CLT. Buildings with stud wall construction tend to burn fast and hard one they get going. I remain unconvinced that these new whiz-bang CLT structures won’t burn pretty well once they get going.—-enough oxygen and development of a “fire tornado” burn pattern will do them in. We do, after all, make steel in blast furnaces. And even if they only “char” on the surface and remain standing, who wants to look at charcoal walls? It will take an awful lot of sandpaper to make them livable.

  4. grindupbaker Says:

    The Towering Inferno was a smashing actioner though. Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner, Robert Vaughn, Fred Astaire not dancing and Richard Chamberlain (not O.J. Simpson) as the baddie.

  5. Mike Roddy Says:

    I have no opinion about bamboo, other than it’s hard to make a straight wall
    with it, making everything else expensive.

    Lumber is the worst structural material re our CO2 emissions. It’s not close. The paper below (cowritten with a professor friend) was peer reviewed, and the data is based on IPCC submittals. People who make claims about construction lumber as a way to suck carbon out of the atmosphere have their heads up their asses:

    https://thinkprogress.org/which-emits-the-most-co2-in-home-construction-steel-concrete-or-timber-a6a8b2d3370f/


  6. […] of comments on the recent post on wooden skyscrapers – here’s some further […]


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